By William / www.mcpherson-county-ks.com

ELYRIA – Despite just a 5-4 record in Wheat State League play last season, the Elyria Christian boys basketball team made an end of the season run like no other and found themselves in the Class 1A Division II state championship game where they lost to Hanover 40-52 to finished second in state for the 2020-21 season.

The Eagle boys will need to replace some of their offensive firepower as they lose four graduates from last season’s team in Bret Anderson, Zach Stucky, Josef Hobson, and Kaden Aroum. This will be head coach Zach Goodrich’s number one goal is to find some replacement offense.

Coach Goodrich will not find the cupboard entirely empty as some of that offense and team leadership will come from returning seniors Keyan Wiggers and Ben Unruh who combined in 2020-21 for 11.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game.

Add to that Johnny Unruh who showed flashes of stardom as just a freshman plus three highly promising freshman and the Eagles have the look of a team that can build on last year’s late season successes.

“We lost a talented group of seniors that always left everything on the floor,” noted Coach Goodrich when reflecting on players leaving and returning. “The wisdom they shared to our current seniors and returning varsity players will hopefully be on display early in the season. We have a good mix of abilities this season, and we look forward to putting it all together.”

The Eagles will once again have a strong, extremely competitive schedule of non-league contests that will include Sedgwick, Moundridge, Marion, Central Christian and Berean Academy. The type of schedule where the team will learn plenty about themselves quickly.

As for the Wheat State League, Coach Goodrich pointed out that once again Little River will be strong and athletic, while Goessel and Canton/Galva will present physical teams while Solomon has lots of returning players with game experience.

Here is a complete summary of the upcoming 2021-22 season for the Elyria Christian Eagle Boys Basketball Program:

ELYRIA EAGLES OPENING MONTH OF THE 2021-22 SEASON =

Friday, December 3 = At Moundridge

Monday, December 6 = At Bluebird Classic – play Little River

Friday, December 10 = At Bluebird Classic – play Goessel

Saturday, December 11 = At Bluebird Classic – Final Round

Tuesday, December 14 = Host Sedgwick

Friday, December 17 = Host Peabody/Burns

Tuesday, December 21 = At Rural Vista

WHAT YOU GET WITH ELYRIA EAGLE HEAD COACH ZACH GOODRICH =

  • Coach Zach Goodrich begins his 6th season as head coach of the Elyria Eagle boys.
  • Career & Elyria Christian Record of 80-37.
  • 2020-21 Record = 16-11
  • 2020-21 Wheat State League Record = 5-4
  • Led the Eagles to a 2nd place finish at the 2020-21 Class 1A Division II state tournament.

EAGLE PLAYERS WHO GRADUATED/TRANSFERRED =

  • Zach Stucky
  • Bret Anderson
  • Josef Hobson
  • Kaden Aroum

KEY RETURNING EAGLE PLAYERS FOR 2021-22 =

  • Keyan Wiggers = A 6’4” senior who averaged 6.1 points and 5.3 rebounds per game in 2020-21.
  • Ben Unruh = A 6’0” senior who averaged 5.4 points, 4.2 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game in 2020-21.
  • Johnny Unruh = A 5’11” sophomore who averaged 1.7 points and 1.3 rebounds per game in 2020-21.
  • Josh Allen = a 5’9” senior.

INCOMING PLAYERS TO PAY ATTENTION TO =

  • Caleb Laney, junior
  • Ty Romero, freshman
  • Andrew Huxman, freshman
  • Landon Schneider, freshman

WHAT COACH GOODRICH HAS TO SAY =

About Keyan Wiggers and Ben Unruh = “Keyan and Ben will be our senior leadership this year, and we believe they are ready to fill those roles. Both have shown a lot of growth this past summer, and we will look to them to set the tone for us on both sides of the ball.”

About Johnny Unruh = “Johnny has put a lot of work in this summer, and he is one we can’t wait to see put it all together once we start playing games. He should be more confident with and without the ball while giving us a consistent outside threat.”

About the newcomers to the roster = “We have some freshman and juniors we believe can step in this year and make an immediate impact with their abilities and we are excited to see them take on that challenge.”

Remembering last season = “After making a late season run to the State Championship game, we believe a lot of our underclassman learned the process of getting better throughout the season.”

Looking toward the 2021-22 season = “We have a good mix of abilities this season and we look forward to putting it all together. As we mention every year, we want to the team to be disciplined and improve throughout the schedule and be playing our best basketball come the end of February and early March.”

On the Wheat State League = “This season the Wheat State League will continue to be tough and prepare us for postseason play. We will have to be ready to go each game, and there will not be any nights off.”

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